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-back ever. >>> president obama will spend the night aboard airforce 1 making a red-eye trip from hawaii to washington. when he arrives on thursday, it's right back to budget negotiations with the fiscal cliff deadline less than a week away. >> reporter: as the president wrapped up his vacation, federal workers trickled back into the nation's capital. the only people who can avert the fiscal cliff, members of the house and senate, have not returned. and in just six days, a 2% payroll tax is set to expire, along with the bush-era tax cuts, shrinking the average worker's paycheck in 2013 by about $1,500. long-term unemployment benefits for about 2 million jobless americans are also set to expire, and $110 billion worth of spending cuts to domestic and defense programs will kick in, forcing layoffs in the public and private sector. if congress doesn't act, all the cuts and new taxes will squish the economy back into a mild recession by mid-2013. the impact of some of these new cuts and taxes wouldn't be felt immediately on january 1st because the irs and other agencies didn't expect it to
are saying. >> reporter: top congressional leaders met with president obama. the president called the meeting constructive but reminded lawmakers there is not much time left. >> we are now at the point where in just four days, every american's tax rates are scheduled to go up by law. >> harry reed turned to is the gnat floor. >> we are engaged in discussions, the leader myself and the white house in the hopes that we can come forward as early as sunday and have a recommendation. >> we are going to do the best we can for the caucuses we have and the country that is waiting for us to make a decision. >> reporter: democratic and republican leaders have agreed to extend jobless benefits an some tax increases, but the income threshold is not yet clear. the president and senate leaders are expressing optimism nay will get the job done, but the president has a back up plan just in case. >> if an agreement isn't reached in time, between senator reed and senator mcconnell, i will urge reed to bring to the floor an up or down vote. >> reporter: that would preserve tax cuts for the middle class and exte
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